The EDL to return to Tower Hamlets
The following post comes from the Tower Hamlets ALARM website. We repost it here because, though LiverAF doesn’t hold the explicitly anarchist position that ALARM do, we agree with the class-conscious approach to anti-fascism as a counter-point to apolitical and liberal anti-fascism.
Last year a far right wing religious group was to hold a conference at the Troxy in Tower Hamlets, the English Defence League (EDL) declared their intent to oppose this conference with a collective punishment on the people of Tower Hamlets for allowing these fringe groups to exist in the same area.
Many of the Alarm contacts in this borough were involved in organising against both these groups from entering our area, but saw the EDL as the greater threat to the people of Tower Hamlets and were ready to oppose them on the day.
“Our political response was principled opposition to both events – ‘a plague on both your houses’. The views espoused by the proposed conference speakers were repellent, racist, sexist and homophobic. And the views of the EDL are no better. They affect to simply oppose Islamist extremism: its anti-Semitism, its attacks on women’s rights, its homophobia – and, of course, its terrorism. Yet a glance at the EDL message boards reveals homophobia, sexism and racism. Even if the EDL stood for what they claim to, it would still be a vile organization, given the involvement of people associated with the BNP, NF and Blood and Honour among other groups.”
The full details of our experiences can be found here.
A year later and the EDL attempt to again enter the streets of Tower Hamlets under the guise of a mock gay pride march. This was organised after the area had been blanketed in homophobic stickers but was called off after more and more of the organiser’s far right tendencies were revealed.
Rumour has it that the EDL are planning to try and come to Tower Hamlets yet again. Details are shaky; no solid plans have been announced yet. They have already tried twice to get big crews into the area, with a few smaller cameos by the EDL seen then chased off by the local youth. They keep wanting to come here, Tower Hamlets… it’s their holy grail. Maybe they think a show of strength here will bring the numbers on their march’s back up, maybe their just out of ideas to keep their people interested.
The EDL plan to thrash racial tensions into our community, they want attacks on the Asian population, homophobia, anti Sharia law, they don’t care what reason is used as an excuse.
The other side of the coin is no better. The opposition to the EDL is swamped by outsiders from the borough coming in as the UAF. Last year the UAF refused to admit the EDL had cancelled their march, they whipped up tension in the area to breaking point, mobs of young men roamed the streets to find EDL “rapists” to vent their anger on. Of course they never found the EDL, but they did find a few innocent bystanders.
The cocktail of lies the UAF push on to a community will normally have only one goal, instead of confronting the EDL or even acknowledging the negative aspects of political Islam they want one thing. Your membership to the SWP.
The UAF’s plans are often shifting, one year will see it push for a Labour party candidate to be elected, the next a RESPECT candidate will be supported. Any form of what they call antifascism will be family friendly and walk away from the EDL under police protection. This is not Antifascism, this is liberal reformism, and we do not want it back on our streets.
We won’t stand with the Mayor Lutfur, or with the dead-end Labour men of yesterday like “red“ ken, trying to secure a few votes for their next election and we won’t stand with the Islamic Forum of Europe, and their ideological links with Jaamat i Islami.
We won’t be asking the EDL entry on to our streets to be banned by the state either; we only lose when we ask for greater powers for the police. The same laws used against an EDL march will be used to attack the young here with more powerful dispersal zone, leading to a further eroding of our right to assembly and later will used to keep any radical defiance to the Tories off the streets.
We will stand with the people of Tower Hamlets to oppose the far right on the streets, as Tower Hamlets did when the Blackshirts were stopped in 1936. As Tower Hamlets did when the 43 Group fought them after the Second World War and when the fash were finally cleared off Brick Lane and out of Bethnal Green in the 70’s.
There are rumors of the EDL entering the area, instead of getting lured in to the loud empty rhetoric of faith men and Leninists we should wait. Continue building cross community links and be prepared for the EDL if they do decide to come.
The post was written before the EDL’s intention to demonstrate was confirmed. Once it was the following brief update was posted.
The EDL have declared Saturday, August 27 the day they will try yet again to stumble through our streets.
If they do not bottle it yet again we will be out on the streets, we will be working with the rest of the community to confront and stop them.